#75 R.P.I. Clemson @ #127 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech finally gets home and gets back in their own beds for the middle game in a harsh looking set of four of five Atlantic Coast away dates. Virginia Tech is slumping, having, now, dropped 5 straight L’s.
Clemson stands in at a decent looking 14 up and 8 down overall and is prolly fighting for their very own play-off lives. However, 50% of Clemson’s wins have come in-conference, at a very attractive looking 7 vs. 3 in the A.c.c. standings.
As said, this is a very “decent” looking Clemson men’s hoops club that serially flirts with being good. Other than one thing, they seem to rise up and win when the should not and likewise they seem to get beat when they should not.
Making this a very mercurial preview to write, as I will tell you right now, that beyond j.Blossomgame? I just did not see anything that great here. And yet Clemson goes right on about their defensive business and makes for an ugly game and a tough out.
Ergo, there is something likable about this Tiger crew, as coach Brad Brownwell has done one of the better, less flashy and less sexy coaching jobs in the A.c.c. As Clemson was tabbed 3rd from last, at best, outta all my preview magazines.
Right now? Clemson stands in, in a nearly shocking 3rd place!
Clemson at a glance:
- 15th in scoring defense (63.2 ppg allowed)
- 20th in Blocks (5.5 bpg)
- 26th fewest turnovers (10.6 tpg)
- 26oth in Scoring O (69.7 ppg)
- NO other rankings lower than 260th! (lottsa B- to C- rankings abound)
- NO injuries reported (thank God)
CU Returning Starters=3
- The enthusiastic one, #5, one Jaron Blossomgame is your 6’7” 22o lb. r-Jr. leading Tiger in scoring (17.2 ppg) and in board-work (at 7.2). After that? There is a significant drop off in production across the board not named Jaron Blossomgame (kool name!) As I am recalcitrant to publish this Clemson hoops team as being a one-trick-pony; though it is pretty close to a single-shot Tiger. Stop Blossomgame and your odds to win go way way up. The book here reads that Blossomgame has an all-’round game that only needs to develop a little deeper range on his J. Smooth looking guy, who still looks like he could add 5+ right-mass pounds. Strong finisher (128 FTA’s on 77.6%), strong rebounder, in particular on the defensive glass where he is virtually 200% ahead of the next nearest defensive rebounding Tiger. 51.4% from the floor and an improved and team leading 42.4% from 3-point land tell you that this talented though oft injured kid is not scared of hard-work. Not bad from a kid with a history of scholastic leg snaps and subsequent collegiate leg-surgeries plural to (God wiling) remedy the same. Holds basically every single Chattahoochee High School career record you can name, including points, rebounds and blocked shots. May not have yet quite gotten to where he could have with these leg breaks; although he moves better and better year by year.
- After that, as I said, scoring, thins…
- Sidy Djitte and Landry Nnoko man they glass and they are legit big-bodies that man-up on said glass and go to work if not to war. #35 Landry Nnoko is a big ole imported Camaroon native 6’10” 255 lb. senior year hardcore, internal pipe-banger who never met a shot he would not try to block and therefore never avoids much of any fouls that can be whistled against. Seriously, this guy averages a D.Q. (disqualification) every forth game and he has not tallied less than 4 personal-fouls per game in A.c.c. play. 8.5 ppg and 5.5 rebounds and a team leading 2.2 bpg in only 20 foul plagued minutes tell what a force -if uncontrolled- this guy can truly be. Has international experience (played in Italy) and has not been carded since Jr.High as this is one mature looking chap. #50 Sidy Dijtte is even more athletic, in his third year at 6’10” and 240 lbs. of nasty Senegalize. Pretty good soccer player in Senegal and had the bigger offer-sheet of these two dinosaur looking legit-Centers before Coming to America. 5.1 ppg, 5.9 boards and 1.2 blocks gives the Tigers Five spot a very heavy 1-2 punch.
- Donte Grantham, Avry Holmes and Jordan Roper none of whom are stars — and all of whom are between 10.3 and 9,7 ppg smart enough contributors. Donte Grantham is a 6’8” 210 lb. soph. pure gunning S/F. Shot slection has not been his thing, as he feels he is open on every single shot. Still yet, second in scoring at 10.3 ppg and yet that 38% overall is a nag to a kid who Lindy’s says has the “…potential to be something special.” 6’2” 195 lb. Jr. combo-Guard Avry Holmes is a Swiss Army pocket knife backcourter who can shoot and who has the handles to run the One. 9.8 ppg for the South Florida transfer (that ring a bell?); although it does not appear that Avry has found his Tiger niche just yet. Some of my magazines seemed to expect more here. Jordan Roper 6′ 160 lb. cat quick jitterbug final year Point man who -of all things- is said to need to work on his handles as he tries to do too much off the bounce as a true Pt.Guard. 9.7 ppg and the team lead in dimes (4.o apg) and being the best lock-down backcourt defender is no bad trade however.
- have we not seen this A.c.c. movie before? Good defensive Clemson team that has to manufacture -or struggle- to scoreboard just enough points. Though NOT a fun team to play as big and physical as they are down low.
- that’s about it; except for a thin bench.
- as pointed out above, Clemson does everything well to average, except the generation of raw scoreboard output (i.e. points). This is a dead solid team, not a great one, may not even be a good one on low scoring nights. Though it is a solid one on any night.
Clemson Bench: (depth=2 and change, kinda thin, though this is a big physical pine-squad with Dijtte and Josh Smith 6’8” 255 lb. Sr. year burly P/F banger on the interior)
Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:
The takeaway here is… Vegas has slumping Virgina Tech as a 2 point home-dog –even though the A.c.c. road team (read: Clemson) only manages to win about 3 in 10 times historically.
And ^that^ should tell you something right there gents. As Clemson is only .4oo or 40% on the road thus far this season. Whereas Virginia Tech has gone 63% at home this campaign under Buzz.
See what I mean?
‘nother toss-up, pick ’em, “even” as I called it above kinda game that prolly decides itself late and could decide itself on one or two full shots or less.
And this is indeed an “even” looking game, as only o.6% separate these two in offensive shooting percentage terms in their last five games and only 1.3% separates them on the defensive shooting percentage allowed metric over the same time-frame. However, our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide is predicting an 6 point Clemson win in this one; and the Forum Guide -as we already know- only grows stronger as the season grows longer.
Nevertheless, getting home, getting some sleep in your own bed, and (hopefully) getting outta this 5 game funk should only perk slouching Virginia Tech up. Clemson is not exactly beyond our depth. Not at all. So this author would posit you pick the defense and interior deterrents and bulk of Clemson, or you pick the homecourt shooting of Virginia Tech due to the fact that Clemson defends 7.3% worse when they visit. Take thy pick…
Then I finally found this little nugget; the whispers say Clemson is right on the getting Top-25 nationally ranked verge with a win here.
That and those big boys down low have to count for something; ditto the scoring count of Blossomgame who has tallied at least 20 points or more in his last five games. (the last Clemson player to score 20 points in five straight games was Horace Grant in 1986-87) So, when in doubt, side with rebounding, defense, or simply the team with the best player on the court.
(55% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=68, Clemson=7o